What do people who cook for a living make on Thanksgiving? We were curious too, so we asked four cooking pros to share their ideal Thanksgiving menus and recipes. Even for chefs, Thanksgiving isn't the time for exotic ingredients or hard-to-pronounce dishes – they like comfort food like anyone else. But their styles of preparation are something to admire, and easy enough for all of us to try in our own kitchens.
Host of "Ten Dollar Dinners" on the Food Network and a winner of "The Next Food Network Star"
"I love a traditional Thanksgiving," d'Arabian says, right down to the ritual of going around the table to hear what everyone is grateful for. "As a hostess, I focus on what I can do to make people feel welcome," she says. "To me, it's far more important for people to feel welcome in my home than it is for them to walk away and say, 'I really want that recipe.'"
Turkey: "I love having the traditionally roasted turkey. And I love good gravy. Making a good gravy is so easy to do and I think it's critical," she says.
Sides: "I love making a homemade cranberry sauce. I think that's worth the money," d'Arabian says. Stuffing and sauteed cabbage with apples (recipe below) round out the meal. Dessert: Apple pie and pumpkin crumble (an alternative to pumpkin pie, which her husband and four kids aren't fans of). "It wouldn't be Thanksgiving if I didn't have pies. I love all of those traditional flavors," d'Arabian says.
Sauteed cabbage and apples recipe
By Melissa d'Arabian, courtesy Food Network
Makes 4 servings
- 1/2 head red cabbage
- 1 Granny Smith apple
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup red wine
- Splash apple cider vinegar
- Core and slice the cabbage into thin slices.
- Slice the cheeks off the apples and cut into thin wedges.
- In a large saute pan, add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the cabbage, apples, fennel and salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until the cabbage softens and wilts about 20 minutes.
- Deglaze with red wine and stir in a splash of cider vinegar. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.
Up next: Robb Garceau's Blue Hubbard squash soup >>